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end game for planet earth (or for humans who live there)


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what is the end game of our civilization?

has anybody have any policymakers thought it all the way through?

our system depends on unlimited economic growth. agree?

we've already got lots more people in the world than we have living-wage jobs.

if fewer and fewer workers are needed to achieve the same production, then shouldn't the world's population be contracting?

I heard on NPR that some scientists at MIT say there is going to be a dramatic worldwide economic collapse and population contraction because of lack of resources (mostly water but also food) around the year 2030. Essentially confirming the Limits to Growth study from the 1970s.

if we stay on our present course, do you think this is inevitable?

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I think if we "stay on our present course" it is inevitable. Fortunately "staying on our present course" is impossible. Things will change (gradually) and adjust to the newer paradigm (whatever that might be). These adjustments will alter the present course thus changing the inevitable.

At least that's what it said under my fruit juice cap.

Alter the present course, as projected in these graphs you think?  You think the graph will end up looking different than as it's projected?

WHatever happens,, it will probably invovle zombies..

I think overopoputaion is self-limiting...the actual upheaval will be nasty but eventually the pendulum will swing back..

What scares me is all the nuclear missile stuff..It would only take one mad person to unleash the dogs.. so to speak..

 

*wonders if those doomsday prepper show people aren't so crazy after all*

Why would population growth be limited by productivity gains?

It means we can produce more with fewer man hours, which generally means more leisure time, more casual interests, better quality of life.

I think the worst thing that might happen in a case of severe economic contraction is that people might have to learn how to work hard at basic things (like producing food and clothing) again.

The horror ... the horror ...

All well and good if in 2030 you're a landowner with a patch of dirt to grow on.

These urban gardening clubs, and vegetable co-ops will save future Gators.

*buys a plow*

Seriously, though, I watch the reality show about Doomsday Preppers, every now and then. Amazing the scenarios for which people will prepare, rather than working to change their sphere of influence.

Original Post by lysistrata:

Why would population growth be limited by productivity gains?

It means we can produce more with fewer man hours, which generally means more leisure time, more casual interests, better quality of life.

Haven't we seen instead that companies just lay off the extra workers and make the fewer remaining workers produce everything?

So instead of everybody working 32 hours a week, you've got 80% still working 40+ hours a week and 20% unemployed?

If you have more people, you're just going to run out of finite resources quicker. It's not like productivity gains cause there to be new supplies of oil or other finite resources, like fresh water.

Original Post by lysistrata:

Why would population growth be limited by productivity gains?

It means we can produce more with fewer man hours, which generally means more leisure time, more casual interests, better quality of life.

I think the worst thing that might happen in a case of severe economic contraction is that people might have to learn how to work hard at basic things (like producing food and clothing) again.

The horror ... the horror ...


Well I looked a little closer and the estimates for industrial output are lagging slightly behind predictions. This is open to ineterpretation.  If it is the case then we'll need more humanity to support the planet. If it's not the case the lys is right and pass the tequila.

Renewable resource consumption is slightly less than projections (that's a good thing). I don't beleive service sector output is relevant, we'll take what we can get.  Global pollution is trending slightly behind projections but I think this is going to pick up as China and India develop into more consumer based economies. 

I think it will be a slow decline.  The end game for us will more than likely be a resource allocation issue. I think it will be a long and painful road. I don't think Mad Max is that farfetched. It's not a mater of how but when.

It's hard for me to think of fresh water as finite, rather than renewable. I know that's wrong thinking, especially given the damage we're doing to it, but as part of our ecosystem, doesn't water eventually take care of itself?

Really the entire earth takes care of itself if it rids itself of human influence...

It has the capacity to heal itself, one way or another.

Yikes.

Original Post by kathygator:

It's hard for me to think of fresh water as finite, rather than renewable. I know that's wrong thinking, especially given the damage we're doing to it, but as part of our ecosystem, doesn't water eventually take care of itself?

Really the entire earth takes care of itself if it rids itself of human influence...

It has the capacity to heal itself, one way or another.

Yikes.

That's what the dinosaurs thought.

*pats himself on the back for the restraint shown in not drawing correlations*

I am reading the Mission right now.. fiction but interesting..

I don't think it will be slow.. because people are so bunched up in cities..Resourse allocation boils down to food and water and fuel for heat.  When that goes there will be massive population declines..from basic starvation and its brother diseases. 

That is if the dogs of war don't kill of 90% of us first..

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

Alter the present course, as projected in these graphs you think?  You think the graph will end up looking different than as it's projected?

The projections displayed on the graph predict that historical trends will continue until eventually all hell breaks loose.  The observed trends since the projections were made seem to reasonable follow the projections (the projections underestimated remaining resources and food/production per capita) but then again we haven't gotten to the all hell breaking loose part.

Just because a model can predict that a trend will continue doesn't mean that the model is accurate in predicting when observations will devert from the trend.

Original Post by floggingsully:

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

Alter the present course, as projected in these graphs you think?  You think the graph will end up looking different than as it's projected?

The projections displayed on the graph predict that historical trends will continue until eventually all hell breaks loose.  The observed trends since the projections were made seem to reasonable follow the projections (the projections underestimated remaining resources and food/production per capita) but then again we haven't gotten to the all hell breaking loose part.

Just because a model can predict that a trend will continue doesn't mean that the model is accurate in predicting when observations will devert from the trend.

I think you've answered yes, you think the graph will end up looking different than as projected.

In what ways will the graph turn out to be different, do you think? Like, which curve do you think will be flatter or steeper, etc.?

*thinks of Soylent Green and shudders*

It's people!  Soylent Green is people!

30 years ago, I used to think that movie far-fetched.  Same with Orwell's 1984.

Now, not so much.

The graph seems to indicate that 'civilization' will diminish, but not necessarily human survival. Population is projected to decline moderately, and food production, but then food production rights itself and ends up about equal to population growth by 2100.

What the graph seems to predict is the fall of industrialization.

All of this, of course, if we clear the Mayan cut-off...

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

I think you've answered yes, you think the graph will end up looking different than as projected.

I think it already looks different than as projected, I also think that if they added observations from the last dozen years it would even look more different.

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

In what ways will the graph turn out to be different, do you think? Like, which curve do you think will be flatter or steeper, etc.?

 I think all the curves will continue on more or less the same path that they're on and will slowly level out.

Also, units and a scale are missing from the graph.

Original Post by kathygator:

The graph seems to indicate that 'civilization' will diminish, but not necessarily human survival. Population is projected to decline moderately, and food production, but then food production rights itself and ends up about equal to population growth by 2100.

What the graph seems to predict is the fall of industrialization.

All of this, of course, if we clear the Mayan cut-off...

I ascribe to the Zager Evans Theory.

I think I need to add Man Vs Wild and Dual Survivors to my DVR list. I already learned how to start a fire with a car battery, now I just have to perfect the bow method, and work on the fire drill...

Original Post by kathygator:

I think I need to add Man Vs Wild and Dual Survivors to my DVR list. I already learned how to start a fire with a car battery, now I just have to perfect the bow method, and work on the fire drill...


my husband and i watch these.  that Dave Canterbury knows his way around a flint fire starter ;)

i'm also convincing myself that we're getting another squirrel-hunting dog so we're prepared for economic collapse.  why fill my basement with 3,000 cans of food when i can send out the hounds to tree some rodents? ;)  our small dog is good with squirrels.  the one i'm getting in a few weeks apparently hunts racoons and mountain lions, also.  with our garden in the back yard, i think we'll be set!

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